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News Link • Politics: Democratic Campaigns

Barney Frank won’t seek reelection in 2012

US Representative Barney Frank, the state’s highest-profile congressman and one of the nation’s leading liberal voices after being among its first openly gay elected officials, planned to announce today that he will not reelection next year.

A top adviser told the Globe that the new district in which Frank would have had to run next year was a major factor in his decision. While it retained his Newton stronghold, it was revised to encompass more conservative towns like Walpole while losing New Bedford, a blue-collar city where the Democrat had invested a lot of time and become a leading figure in the region’s fisheries debate.

Frank’s campaign manager last year said his withering 2010 re-election effort spurred the congressman to think seriously about retirement, even saying a few days after the election that it would be his last one.

Frank wanted to announce that this would be his final term immediately afterward, but decided against it, said Kevin Sowyrda, the campaign manager.

“We looked him right in the face and said, ‘You can’t resign,” Sowyrda said. “In fairness to Barney, he was emotional about it. He said, ‘I know I’ve got to stay.’”

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